THE LONE AFRICAN EXPLORER drags his kayak ashore and begins to collect firewood from around the little beach on the left bank of the White Nile. It's April 10, 2007, and the day's descent of some of the continent's most powerful rapids has worn him to exhaustion. But he can't sleep. Not without fire. He's also careful not to stray beyond the jungle's green curtain—this is Uganda's Murchison Falls National Park, after all, home to the world's densest populations of hippopotamus and Nile crocodile, one an extremely territorial 4,500-pound vegetarian with six-inch dagger tusks and the other a voracious 12-foot-long opportunist.
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